The Cactus Killer – Chapter 5 plus updates!

Hey everyone, how’s it going?  Not too bad here, just another quiet Tuesday.  Oh yeah, Penalty Kill is now out to the world!  Man, am I happy with how that book turned out.  To my Ragnarok on Ice friends and fans, I think you will be quite happy with the story.  Also, we’re in the last days of the big sale on Power Play: The Overtime Edition.  Today and tomorrow, that’s it for the 99 cent price.

I know a lot of you are now coming for The Cactus Killer and we are now up to chapter 5.  At this point, Vic and Liz are pretty much getting used to working together.  He’s a bit of a backwoods bumpkin and she is the big city vampire.  How they continue to learn to trust each other and open up is a big theme.

We’ve also been introduced to the name Warren Tucker.  Who he is and what he’s up to will all be answered soon.  With those tasty tidbits, let’s dive into…


Chapter 5

 “You did what, Mayor Argent?” It took all my self-restraint not to tell this man off.

“Calm down Vic, it is only temporary. Besides, you are the one who said it needed to be the safest place in Full Moon. No one would be stupid enough to try and murder someone in the sheriff’s own home.”

You got it; the mayor’s idea of a safe house was my house. “Where is the ambassador right now?”

He was trying not to laugh. “Your mother picked her up from the station. She was taking her over to your house to get her settled.”

“Thank you for that lovely surprise, mayor. I will email you the report with everything we went over from the crime scene tonight.”

He was now laughing at my displeasure as I hung up. I was driving home and could only imagine what awaited me there. My mom, the Alpha female, and a thousand year old vampire were in my house doing who knows what to my stuff. Argent would get his one day; I would make sure of that.

I made good time and when I arrived at my house, I didn’t see my mom’s car in the driveway. I assumed she wanted to get out of Dodge before I got home. I quickly sent her a snarky text and got out of my car. I grabbed all the samples of evidence from the crime scene and came in to find dinner was already made. I was too taken aback to start complaining.

“Your brother, Felix told me the best way to get on your good side was to make sure I had lots of fresh meat cooked up. I hope you like hot dogs and something called tater tots. It was all I could find.”

“Well you certainly know how to diffuse a situation.” I couldn’t help but laugh; I loved hot dogs and tater tots. “Let’s not let all this food go to waste. We can talk about what I found after dinner.”

I literally wolfed (bad pun intended) down four hot dogs and the entire tray of tater tots. Elizabeth politely declined any food, saying she needed to stay on a liquid diet to keep her figure. I shrugged my shoulders and continued to eat away. After gorging myself and getting us two beers, I went over what I found.

“I found a Bible tossed off to the side, belong to a Rev. Warren Tucker from Elephant Butte. Does the name mean anything to you?”

“Sorry Vic, I have known many people in my life, but I can safely say I do not know a Pastor by that name.”

I figured she wouldn’t, but it was worth a shot. Hopefully, once we met Rev. Tucker he could shed some light on the situation and give us a lead we could follow.

“There were quite a few odd scents at the scene too. The two strongest were garlic and gasoline. I can’t make heads or tails of that odd combination. Does either of those make sense to you?”

“Both actually make some sense. In human folklore, the smell of garlic is supposed to ward off vampires and, of course, burning us ends our lives.”

Of course, the gasoline was going to be used to burn her. I should’ve picked up on that, but the garlic superstition is new to me. “I’m going to shoot it straight with you. I have two theories and neither is good. We either have a deranged human who discovered our little secret society or a vampire is hitting off their own and covering it up to make it look like a human.”

“I too have been wondering if this is an inside job as they say. Some of the other territory leaders believe me to be paranoid, but you do not stay alive for so long by not watching your back.”

“Is there anyone that would benefit from you biting the big one?”

“Was that a pun, Vic?” She smiled wide enough to show off her fangs, show off. Bad puns were my thing.

“I do believe it was.” I chuckled at my own vampire humor. “But in all seriousness, who would gain the most?”

“The next in line to take over for me would, but seeing how it is my brother Jonathan, I doubt it is him.”

Family is always a touchy subject, but here goes. “Just to cover all the bases in this investigation, why do you think he is innocent in this?”

“He enjoys Europe too much. He spends three quarters of his time there and if he were to inherit the southwest, let us just say that it would go to hell rather quickly.”

She seemed one hundred percent certain of that. “Fair enough, I just had to ask. That does bring an interesting point up. Could someone want you gone so he does take over?”

That one caught her off guard a bit. She took her time before giving me an answer. “I never thought of it like that. If Jonathan was in charge, more freedoms would be had. I have a no tolerance policy on unprovoked attacks on humans. He would not be around nearly enough to enforce such measures.”

Good enough reason in my mind for someone wanting to take her out. Privately, I was hoping it was one of hers up to this. Still I had a bad feeling nagging me that this was something worse. I changed the subject and we began talking baseball again. You never want to go to bed on sour notes, so after a spirited debate that took two hours about all-time greats (which, ironically enough for me, she had witnessed all of them playing while they were alive), we called it a night.

I found my way to my bed, only after making sure she was comfortable in one of my spare bedrooms. I hoped the mayor’s assessment was right and no one would be stupid enough to take a crack at her while she was here. It didn’t matter though, between my state of the art alarm system and my senses I figured we were both safe enough tonight. Still, Roscoe sat on my dresser loaded and cocked.

It was all for naught though, nothing happened during the night. I didn’t even know if she slept, but I woke up around six thirty feeling good. It didn’t hurt that the smell of eggs and bacon hit me like a ton of bricks too and soon I was back at the table.

“I assumed there would be no point in talking about our day before you had your intake of fried meats, so I took the liberty of cooking them up for you.”

With as much dignity as one could muster with a mouthful of food, I muffled my thanks and kept going. Werewolves like to eat and we do it well. She sat there drinking her coffee with an amused look the entire time. When I was finished, it was time for business.

“Will your people be here today then?”

“Yes, but unlike me, they are not as energetic in the sun and will not be here until later this evening. It looks like it is just you and me today, sheriff. Can you appoint me as an honorary deputy or something?”

“You got the something part right. Now grab your coffee and let’s go. I think we should take a drive and meet the good reverend himself.”

“Hold on there, I cannot go out like this. Settle your horses, cowboy and give me ten minutes!” Elizabeth didn’t even give me a chance to respond and rushed out of the kitchen. I sighed and grabbed a cup of coffee myself. I must have dozed off because before I knew it she was back in all of her business attire splendor. Plus, she was as tall as me now, so I figured she was ready.

“Now we can go. Hurry up Vic, time is wasting.” This was going to be painful.

Out in the driveway, I sat my coffee on top of the car so I could unlock the doors. Nothing automatic about my car, she was all vintage. As I inserted the key to unlock the doors, the faint smell of smoke touched my nose.

“Elizabeth, get down!”

I dropped to the ground and I hoped she did too. A quick glance confirmed, as she curled up like a ball. A split second later, the sound of a high caliber rifle filled the air and my coffee cup exploded. I hopped back up with Roscoe cocked and ready. Tracing the sounds back to the origin, I saw a figure dressed in black about three hundred yards away on a side street.

“Get in the car, quickly! I got a beat on this guy!”

We both hopped in and the engine roared to life. I saw neighbors sticking their heads out the door from the sound of a gunshot, but I didn’t have time to quell any fears. Pushing the Mustang as fast as she’d go, we were off. Turning down the side street, I saw the shooter hop into a black SUV and it took off as well. I saw the outline of two men again. With the windows down, I could also pick up the scent and it was the same musky smell from the crime scene. If these boys wanted a good old fashion car chase, I was about to give it to them. 


You can find all my books, including The Cactus Killer @


About Jeremy Croston

I'm a comic loving, soccer playing, devoted husband who has a writing addiction. I can be found at Orlando Solar Bear hockey games, at the local sports bar cheering on my teams from Philly (go Flyers!), and being led astray by my schnauzer, JJ. Check out my Amazon page at to see my collections. Feel free to friend me on Facebook too at (there is another one of me out there apparently). Outside of writing, I work in business development and am considered an expert in all things Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Thanks for stopping by and looking forward to talking to you soon!
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